Fact that sheriff is walking around handing cookies to people is ‘breaking a little bit of the ice and a little bit of tension’, David Beth says
The sheriff of Kenosha County was spotted distributing coffee and cookies to protesters gathered outside the courthouse during the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, in what appeared to be a gesture to break the tense atmosphere during jury deliberations.
David Beth set up a small counter outside the courthouse with a signboard that said “Cookies for peace” on Thursday.
“I think the fact that the sheriff is walking around handing cookies to people, it’s breaking a little bit of the ice and a little bit of the tension. Hopefully, we have no trouble from here on out,” Mr Beth told Channel 3000.
He added that he picked up 500 cookies from a local bakery and some jugs of coffee from Dunkin Donuts before heading to the courtroom on Thursday morning, all in the hopes of de-escalating tension.
Contudo, he only saw about 30 people at the court that morning although dozens of protesters had been assembling in the last few days — some supporting Mr Rittenhouse and some protesting against him.
Mr Beth took it as a good sign. “I’m pretty confident that this is about as rowdy as we’re going to get,” he told the channel.
The city authorities have been alert for months, the sheriff’s department said, adding that they were prepared to face any situation that may arise. “There’s all kinds of plans in place,” Mr Beth said. “We have plenty of resources on standby, waiting if we needed them, but we’re not hearing that we’re going to need them.”
O case of Mr Rittenhouse — an 18-year-old who has been charged with fatally shooting two people last year during a Black Lives Matter protest — has seen deeply polarised reactions, with some conservatives hailing him as a hero and others demanding punishment.
Mr Rittenhouse’s attorneys have argued that he acted in self-defence when he shot three men during racial justice protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha on 25 agosto 2020. Two of the men, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, were killed and the third, Gaige Grosskreutz, was wounded.
The trial is underway in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Closing arguments took place on Monday, and all eyes are now on the jurors who will determine the teen’s fate on multiple charges this week. He is now facing five charges, all felonies.
As of Thursday night, jurors have deliberated for roughly 24 hours over three days.
The prosecution has painted Mr Rittenhouse as an instigator of the violence on the night of the shootings and earlier claimed that he was not legally allowed to carry his AR-15 because he was just 17 no momento.
Mr Rittenhouse faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted on the most serious charges against him, incluindo homicídio imprudente de primeiro grau, first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree attempted intentional homicide.